Mass testing offers quicker way out from isolation, Johnson claims

“Mass testing could end the need for two weeks of self-isolation, Boris Johnson said yesterday as he exhorted an “anxious, weary and fed-up” nation to follow lockdown rules. The prime minister limited his room for manoeuvre to extend restrictions beyond four weeks on the first day of the England-wide lockdown, saying he had “no doubt” that “we will get things open again before Christmas”. Holding out the prospect of rapid mass testing being piloted in Liverpool as a “real way forward through the crisis”, Mr Johnson said in Downing Street: “People will have as normal a Christmas as possible.” Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, who appeared alongside the prime minister, was more cautious. He said only that the period of four weeks was sufficient to show whether hospital admissions had levelled off or fallen as a result.” – The Times

  • Second lockdown will end on December 2, promises the Prime Minister – Daily Telegraph
  • Businesses call for end date as lockdown starts – FT
  • Chilling government graphs were secretly toned down after being used to justify new lockdown – Daily Mail


  • Rapid Covid test missed over 50 per cent of cases in pilot – The Guardian
  • Test and Trace suffers worst week as cases rise among over forties – The Times
  • People ‘must keep moving during Remembrance Sunday’s two-minute silence’ or fill out forms – The Sun

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: The public want UK-wide rules for Christmas, but we’re a long way from a ‘Four Nations’ approach

New £15m drive to get rough sleepers housed and protected from Covid

“A new £15 million drive to get homeless Brits into accommodation to protect them against Covid is being launched. Ministers want to clear the streets of rough sleepers to protect them against the killer bug. It comes after nearly £100m was spent to help the homeless find a house during the first Covid wave. The cash will be concentrated on Covid hotspots where Brits sleeping rough are most at risk. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The way we have protected rough sleepers from Covid-19 is widely considered to be the best in the world… Homeless people are at a high risk of catching and dying from Covid because they are vulnerable and often have other health issues.” – The Sun

  • In Covid’s shadow, another health crisis looms – FT

>Today: Brooks Newmark in Comment: With the rise in the virus and winter soon upon us, now is the time to help rough sleepers

Chancellor in new U-turn on support for workers and businesses

“Rishi Sunak on Thursday ripped up his “winter economic plan” and extended his hugely expensive furlough scheme until March, in an abrupt policy change that will pay 80 per cent of wages for those unable to work. The chancellor’s decision to prolong the scheme represents another costly U-turn for Boris Johnson’s government, which has been forced to rewrite its plans as it braces itself for a bleak Covid-19 winter. Mr Sunak said the new package of economic support was co-ordinated with the Bank of England, which on Thursday voted to buy a further £150bn of government bonds to boost spending as the economy falters. “Given the significant uncertainty, a worsening economic backdrop and the need to give people and businesses security through the winter, I believe it is right to go further,” Mr Sunak said.” – FT

  • Chancellor’s coronavirus support package ‘wasteful’, says economist – The Times
  • Britain on course to suffer ‘second deepest recession in Europe’ – The Sun
  • Scottish pubs and restaurants accuse SNP of ignoring businesses – Daily Telegraph


  • How Johnson bounced Sunak over his red line – The Times
  • Chancellor now prefers risk of doing too much to risk of doing too little – The Guardian

>Today: Interviews: Mel Stride – a damaged economy provides less for health and social care, “and that has a cost in lives”


Fraser Nelson: Bounced into a second lockdown he didn’t want, is Johnson still in charge of No 10?

“When the Prime Minister was attacking Labour for a “disaster” circuit-breaker plan, his real opposition was inside No 10, where officials have for some time been presenting him with ever-scarier “scenarios”. He hoped to buy time with unscientific stunts like the rule of six and 10pm pub curfews. Yes, they are frustrating, he’d tell critics, but way milder than what those around him argued for. He hoped they’d focus minds, change people’s behaviour and get infections down. His overruled officials did not give up, and kept coming back with memos pointing to a second wave, which – at its peak – would be four times larger than the first. He had no one to ask for a second opinion, no “red-team” of epidemiologists to ask how plausible this scenario would be. The memos were becoming ever more strongly-worded, pointing to unspeakable NHS horrors just days away. “Even surge [hospital] capacity is burnt through in several regions in 3-4 weeks,” warned one document, which expressed, in days, how long he had to prevent the “rationing of emergency care”. He met Michael Gove, Matt Hancock and Rishi Sunak to discuss a lockdown.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Pivot points to a lack of strategic thinking in the face of a deepening slump – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “These measures may be a short-term strategy, but they cannot be a long-term one”

Downing St ‘condemned for failing to prepare for post-Brexit borders’

“The UK is likely to face “widespread disruption” as the result of its failure to prepare adequately for the new border controls that businesses will face next year after Brexit, a report from the public spending watchdog has warned. The 85-page National Audit Office assessment of UK border preparedness paints a bleak picture across the board, warning of insufficient customs brokers, unprepared border sites and a failure to build enough capacity in new customs software. From next year the UK will need to process 270m customs declarations a year — compared with 60m at present — according to estimates by HM Revenue & Customs, with £1.4bn committed this year to funding new infrastructure. While the report found that Covid-19 had affected the ability of business to prepare, it said that the failure of the government to begin preparing from 2017 when it knew that new border processes would be needed had exacerbated the situation.” – FT

  • Be ready for border chaos, deal or no deal, National Audit Office warns – The Times
  • Brexit may reduce our food shipments to Northern Ireland, says Sainsbury’s – The Guardian


  • Brussels predicts UK economy will slowly recover from Covid even if there is no Brexit deal… – Daily Telegraph
  • …and ‘accuses Britain of stalling Brexit talks’ – The Sun
  • Barnier blocks plan for Brexit showdown – Daily Express

Tories accuse Khan of having ‘more press officers than Boris Johnson’ as Mayor hints he could raise council tax

“Tory London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey today accused Sadiq Khan of having more press officers than the PM – after the Mayor hinted he may raise council tax for Londoners. A furious row broke out as the Labour Mayor’s team accused the Tories of campaigning based on “lies and smears” and “taking Londoners for fools”. Mr Bailey – who is fighting to become Mayor of London next year – claimed the Mayor has a total of 75 people doing his spinning once the press staff for Transport for London, GLA and London Partners are totalled up. That works out at a total of £100m in “PR spending” during his more than four years as Major, he claimed. And he urged him to cut that budget rather than think about raising council tax to plug holes in the capital’s finances.” – The Sun

  • Bailey criticised over TfL bailout ‘facts’ site – The Guardian

Biden closes in on Pennsylvania and victory as Trump fights on

“Joe Biden was last night narrowing the gap in Pennsylvania, the largest state yet to declare, while President Trump appeared to be making gains in the west as both campaigns insisted they were winning the presidential election. Counting of the remaining votes in five swing states slowed to a trickle as America waited to find out if it would discover who won the election within 48 hours of the polls closing. Pennsylvania has 20 electoral college votes, which would hand Mr Biden, 77, the presidency regardless of the result in any other state, and seemed to be edging in his direction. Democrats in the state were bullish about Mr Biden’s prospects.” – The Times

  • Democrat says ‘no doubt’ he will be next US president – FT
  • Trump claims he’s ‘easily won if you count the legal votes’… – The Sun
  • …but Republicans turn on him and call his claims of a conspiracy ‘insane’ – Daily Mail
  • Georgia on Biden’s mind as way to control Senate – The Times


  • Johnson will be secretly hoping for a Biden victory – Kate Andrews, Daily Telegraph
  • Democrat victory is a mixed blessing for Britain – James Forsyth, The Times
  • EU-loving Sleepy Joe will screw us for daring to Brexit – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Chaotic postal voting has become a toxic issue in America – Rosa Prince, Daily Telegraph
  • The populist legacy of Trumpism will live on – Gerard Baker, The Times



News in Brief:

  • The Conservative Party’s autumn of discontent – Graham Stewart, The Critic
  • This lockdown comes at a high political cost – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Policymaking is in a Covid funk – Patrick Minford, CapX
  • Meet the Shy Trumpers – Eric Kaufmann, UnHerd
  • Election was a rejection of the Democratic Left’s divisive identity politics – Jack Dickens, Reaction